Teaching with Two Brains

One brain is entirely into prose poems. The other in prosody.

I always find it difficult to run workshops in a prosody course because the students are so intimidated by forms that they wind up spending so much time on the forms themselves during discussions, and so little time on the content. SO this quarter, I'm working to break that pattern by actually spending less time on critiquing the form missteps and focusing more on whether the poem is effective in the form. They're still quiet. It might just be that I've got a quiet batch.

This coming week the prosody students will be workshopping their literary ballads. I'm having them write six quatrains in iambic quatrameter/trimeter. We'll see how it goes.


The prose poem group . . . they're the talkative ones. Again, I think it's subject-related. They're not as intimidated by the prose poem as a form. The last piece they wrote was an imitation of excerpts from Stein's "Lifting Belly." I was really quite impressed by some of the pieces I've read. What I'm hoping is that the syntactical twists and turns in that particular assignment translate into some of their later prose pieces. I find in the prose poem class that often, students get lazy with their sentences. Also, there's a lot of over-narration. So, I'm working to confound them a little. Maybe I should have them write in anapests.


Current Spin:

Recently released Nirvana concert footage.

Oliver de la Paz